Tailoring thrives on precision, and this impeccable blazer oozes with it. With smooth lines and flattering curved seams, this can be made up in one material for a more conservative look, but the contrasting front and back panels can give an effect ranging from coolly satisfying to playful and flashy depending on what colors and textures you use. A muslin mock-up is a must, since a bad fit misses the point of making one’s own blazer.
Fabrics & materials used:
- 2 yards muslin for mock-up
- 1 yard Charcoal Super 150 Wool Suiting
- 1 yard Black, Gray, and White Striped Stretch Cotton Woven
- 1 yard interfacing
- 1 yard non-stretch cotton twill for undercollar
- 2 yards cupro lining
- 2 buttons
- thread to match both fashion layer and lining
- MDF057 – The Rosemary Blazer (free download below!)
- shoulder pads (optional, should measure your shoulder length by roughly half your armscye circumference)
All seam allowances are 1/2″ unless otherwise stated. See chart below for sizing specifications. Note, this specific pattern is available up to a size 28.
You will need the following tools:
- an iron with steam setting, and a cotton scrap at least 10″ by 10″ to use as a press-cloth (preferably white or undyed)
- a ruler
- tailor’s ham and sleeve form
- rotary cutter and mat
And the following measurements:
- shoulder width
- shoulder length
- shoulder to apex
- apex to apex
- apex to waist
- neck to waist
- neck to hip
- sleeve length
Check your measurements against the pattern measurements, and cut your main body pieces (sleeves, front, back, side front and side back) out of muslin and follow the basic construction directions. Check for fit problems, paying attention to armhole, shoulders, bust positioning, and torso length. Make alterations as needed and transfer alterations to paper pattern.
Fold your suiting in half, selvedge to selvedge. Use your ruler to check the grain lines– the line on the pattern should be the same distance from the selvedge for its entire length. Cut out your front, back, and front facings.
Fold collar pattern in half along center back and place on folded edge of fabric to ensure both sides are mirrored. If the fabric does not have a one-directional pattern you can flip pieces for less waste, but be careful to keep things on grain.
Cut the side fronts, side backs, and sleeves out of striped suiting. If your pattern paper is sufficiently see-through, you may be able to match the grainline on the pattern to the stripes on the suiting.
Cut the undercollar out of cotton twill.
Cut the back, side-fronts, side-backs, sleeves, and front linings out of lining fabric. Trim 1″ off the bottom edge of each piece except for the front linings. This is to keep the hem of the lining from showing below the garment hem.
Sleeves are not shown. Lining fabric tends to shift easily, so I suggest using a rotary cutter and self-healing mat to cut it.Cut one collar and two front facings out of interfacing or hair canvas. If you are using fusible material, make sure the front facings are mirror twins, not identical. If you are using woven interfacing or hair canvas, make sure that it is on grain.
Give each piece a go-over with the iron before working with it.
Press front interfacing onto front fashion layer pieces, and collar interfacing onto undercollar.
Stretch the neck edge and outer edge of the collar facing and undercollar using the iron and a bit of brute force. Working on the wrong side of the fabric will prevent mistakes. Baste along the roll line on the undercollar.
Baste convex curves on sleeve head and body pieces. This will help the curved seams lay smoothly when pinning and sewing.
Hem facings (first method)
Trace the bottom edge of each body piece and 2″ up on scraps of each suiting material.
Use a ruler to mark and cut a 2″ strip for each hem facing. If you’re tight on fabric, it’s okay to have the top edge be uneven as long as it doesn’t vary by more than 1/2″. Mark with notches or chalk on the wrong side so they don’t get mixed up.
Cut front and back facings out of interfacing, and press together.
Sew the strips end to end, starting at center back and working your way toward the front to avoid accidents. The tops can be a little uneven as long as the bottom edge is smooth.
Press open the seam allowances.
Hem facings (second method, suitable if both suiting materials are lightweight)
Using each of your body pieces (front, back, side front, side back), trace the bottom edge and 2″ up on your interfacing. Use a ruler to mark and cut a 2″ strip for each hem facing. Press them onto the wrong side of your suiting scraps and cut out.
Sew together as per first method.
Sew body together, starting with the center back seam and working your way toward the front. Gather and stretch curves so that they lie smoothly.
Press all seams, using a tailor’s ham on curved areas.
Gather the basting on convex curves to shrink the seam allowance, which will make it lie flat while you press it.
Sew the shoulder seams last, matching the side-front and side back seams. Press them open afterwards.You don’t need to finish these seams unless your fabric is particularly fray-prone, since the raw edges will be covered by the lining.
When you’re pressing your seam allowance, try to avoid clipping corners and curves if possible– you can use a steam iron and a bit of force to stretch the seam allowance, but cutting cloth weakens it, especially at stress points like the waistline. If you do have to clip a corner, always leave as much unclipped as possible. You can always cut more later if you need to.
Gathering controls the extra fullness in the seam allowance on convex curves, making notches unnecessary.
Sew the shoulder seams, matching the side-front and side-back seams. Press them open when you are done.
This is a good time to try it on, to double-check the fit of the chest, waist, hips, and shoulders. Taking a bit of time to gloat is also important, especially when making something complicated.
Collar and Neck edge
Mark 1/2″ seam allowance along the front of the neck edge and the collar.
Clip the corners on the neck edge, but don’t cut through your marked seam allowance line.
Pin through the corresponding points to match the inner two corners on the collar and neck edge. Go in at one point and out at the other, just below the end of the corner clips. Don’t worry about it not lying smoothly– it will once it is sewn.
Pin the rest of the neckline, gathering neck edge and stretching collar as needed.
Sew seam, pivoting at the corners. To pivot, stop sewing with the needle down at the corner, raise the presser foot, and rotate the fabric around to re-align it. You will need to move the extra fabric out of the way on the coat side of the seam when you do this, so sew this seam with the collar facing down.
Like many lining materials, cupro has a lot of drape. It can be tricky to work with because it shifts easily. Cutting it with a rotary cutter and mat will keep the fabric from shifting out of alignment, and basting around each piece will help stabilize it while you are sewing. The basting stitches will also help gather the curved seam allowances where necessary.
Your lining pieces should be 1″ shorter than their corresponding outer pieces, so that the lining hem doesn’t poke out past the hem of the garment.
Sew the body pieces together along the center back seam, side-back, side, and side-front seams, in that order. Use 3/8″ seam allowance instead of 1/2″ so the lining will be slightly bigger than the fashion layer. Press open all seam allowances.
Trim the front hem facing so that it is 1/8″ shorter than the bottom edge of the front lining. Pin the concave edge of the hem facings to bottom edge of lining, matching the seams and gathering the lining as needed.
Sew it on, and press the seam toward the lining.
Pin front facing, gathering the curve of the lining so it fits.
Sew seam, and press toward the facing. Topstitch 1/8″ in from the edge to keep the facing in place.
Sew shoulder seams, matching the side-front and side-back seams. It’s okay if there’s a little extra fabric at the ends. Press open the seam.
Mark the seam allowance on neck edge and collar facing, and sew on the collar the same way as for the undercollar. Trim the seam allowance at the corner of the collar so it matches that of the neckline and press it open.
Sew collar and collar facing together.
Press seam allowance, making a fold at each corner.
Sew carefully around front edge and hem, matching seams and corners.
Press seam allowance toward the fashion layer on the front edge, folding the corners at the front hem. Clip the top of the lapels, since the corners are too small to fold without becoming bulky, and make a small clip where the front edge curves above the button. Press the seam toward the lining along the bottom hem.
Now, turn the entire blazer right side out through the armscyes. Use a pencil, knitting needle, or other blunt poking tool to finish turning the lapels.
Press edges. The hem facings and partway up the front should be rolled under slightly so they don’t show from the right side. Do the opposite on the lapels and the collar.
Line up neck edge seams and pin in place, then stitch in the ditch along neck edge.
Put in shoulder pads, if desired, by tacking them to the shoulder seam allowance and along the armscye.
Baste lining and fashion layer together at armscye. If you’re using shoulder pads, you may want to do this by hand for better control.
Give everything a final press, and if you’d like, topstitch the edges with either matching or contrast thread. I left them plain here.
Optional: Cut 2″ strip of interfacing using bottom of sleeve patterns as a template. Press in place.
Sew long sides of sleeve and undersleeve together on both the fashion layer and the lining. Use 1/2″ seam allowance on the fashion layer and 1/4″ to 3/8″ on the lining.
Press seams open using sleeve form. This is a good time to baste around the top of the sleeve head. Don’t clip the corner at the end– it’ll help the hem fold correctly.
Put the right side out fashion layer inside the inside out lining, and sew the fashion layer and the lining together at wrist end of sleeve, matching the seams and stretching/gathering as needed to fit.
Press seam toward lining using the sleeve form.
Pull the fashion layer into the lining, leaving 1″ to act as a facing. Press with the sleeve form.
Pin or baste the lining and fashion layer together about 1-2″ down from the armscye. The lining will be bigger than the fashion layer.
Keeping the lining out of the way, match the highest point of the sleeve head with the highest point of the armscye, and the lowest point of the sleeve head with the lowest point of the armscye. The seams will not be aligned.
Pull basting stitches to gather sleevehead into armscye, then sew.
Turn under 1/2″ around top of sleeve lining, and pin in place over the seam, gathering as needed with basting stitches.
Fell the sleeve lining in place over the seam by hand, making sure stitches don’t show on the right side.
Button and Buttonhole
Sew buttons to the wearer’s right side, just below the point where the front facing begins to show along the edge.
For the buttonhole, you can either use a keyhole buttonhole setting on your machine, or do it by hand.
I’d love to see what this looks like in different colour/texture combos!